Writing Competition: Uncrowned King by Arum Malachy Amandianeze

Writing competition
Still with a lump of akpu, a pounded cassava, he swallowed his spit first before gulping down the moulds of akpu in his hand. He stretched his neck like a giraffe so that the big moulds which weren’t molded in the right proportion could run safely down his throat. He gulped down his water which he drank from a jug which looked frail and dirty. Looking at the jug, it was battered with food particles so that it drew marks of Ebuka’s hand as soon as he withdrew his grip from it. It was rather a cheerful morning having eaten a cold akpu and a bitter leaf soup which seemed watery but was the only soup her mother could afford. After eating, he sat on a pavement in front of their mud house, his machete beside him and then a file which will be used to sharpen the machete in the farm hence it gets blunt. He was soon lost in thought on how he had turned a 21st century farmer even when he was already a university graduate. He made for his Kichibo radio and tuned in to the Radio Nigerian station to grasp the news headline before he proceeds to the farm. Because the battery cell was already weak, he couldn’t hear clearly the voice of the broadcaster. The voice faded intermittently so that he placed the radio close to his ear to hear a bit of what the broadcaster was saying. The president of Federal republic of Nigeria had urged all the governors to implement Free Education so as to train the future leaders of tomorrow. The News caster read. “Damn it! Damn it! Enough of it!” Ebuka shouted on top of his voice which attracted the attention of her mother who came out to know who was challenging her son that morning. “Nwa m, o bu gini, my son what is it?” she asked with utter anxiousness. “Mama, the leaders are getting naughty, they keep saying we are the future leaders of tomorrow, Mama is that not a future impossible tense? Mama is that not making mockeries of our mere jaundice, massaging our ego, mama tell me if this leaders are not only making virtues of necessity, mama…” before he could finish, his mother drew close and patted him on the back and tried to console him. “Is it not the white man that deceived us? We were living well before they came and changed our way of living, I told your father to teach you the way to the farm and he insisted that...” Ebuka’s mood suddenly changed, he doesn’t understand the reason why her mother would always dig that up hence he was talking about the place of the youths in the Nigerian economy and their system of administration. He would hit his own mother one day to tell her that the whites weren’t the problems but the insatiable leaders as if looters who are never fed up of laundering the people’s money to their own private accounts. A country where everyone goes to power to secure for himself and family, and to cause conflict between tribes and religions, he was tired of explaining those things to his mother, therefore, he dropped the radio, zoomed into the house and came out with a big bag which contained his clothes, as his mother who with a pellet of food in her hand and a soup plate watched with suspense where and what had changed his son’s mind that would make him go nut all of a sudden in such an early morning time. “Ebuka nwa m, where are you going?” she asked rushing towards him as he shrugged her off and squeezed his way off from her grip. “I am going in search of greener pasture, I will be back in another form,” he threw words to his mother but a dead person would always have the necessary sleep, it fate isn’t by his side, then he was running to where fools found tread but to him; he thought he was making hays while his sun shone. “Mama, a goat that dies in the barn was never killed by hunger, Ka odi, later,” he said and left.
 Few years had passed in the city where he had travelled to but he was yet to find any job. Wasn’t the Igbo proverb that said “Whatever an elder sees while lying down, a child wouldn’t see should he climb the tall Iroko tree?” Even when he had written to several offices but his applications were always turned down so that people who paid bribes would sniff in their way towards getting for themselves a job, it was a measure of, “Let the right hand go, and let the right hand come back.” Ebuka was tired of such life; he thought it was true of his teachers in school to have told them that Education was the light of every nation. He blamed himself for allowing his crowded brain to have been deceived because, If Education was the true light, why was Nigeria, especially the Youths, the acclaimed future leaders still in darkness? He never knew why things had turned out that way. Even at the age of 41 he was still unmarried and had no place to lay with the wife and rear the kids. Was that not an ugly definition of a hopeless hope to accord that the youths were truly leaders of tomorrow? That can’t wait, for him; he has decided to change his perception of those sayings, knowing that it was a slogan made to deceive the have-nots. He decided to take the other way that seemed brutal. He had joined a team of robbers after some years of job hunt, and then invaded a bank at Oshodi Lagos but it was so unfortunate that they were caught, shot in the legs and was thrown into prison. It was team of robbers who robbed the rich to feed the poor. They robbed wealthy people and firms and then shares to the have-nots. It was dreadful that day for them to have been caught by the police and it was so kind of the police men to have shot them by the legs only, maybe because he saw them as cowards who thought they were doing the right thing. They were charged and were to appear before the court to be tried, should anyone has any reasonable back up for the case, he would be discharged. Ebuka knew it was the right time to bare his mind and to get back whatever might come back to him. On the Day of Judgment, Ebuka with his team appeared to answer the clarion call of the ambassadors of poverty such as described by him. The judge read out the charges and then Ebuka was the first to be tried. He without fear blasted the court with his words. The judge had read thus: “That you Ebuka had joined a team of robbers to rob a bank in Oshodi, guilty or not guilty? He hesitated before he threw the court bare with his harsh reply which showed that he was a fearless one. “How many of our looters, sorry leaders who looted our money had been charged and convicted? Or are laws made for the poor only?” he asked back without fear. All hairs stood on end; he was taken aback to the dock where he sat loosely still nursing the pains resulting from the injury in his leg. Others were tried before they were taken back to the prison. Instead of asking further questions to Ebuka, he was rather taken away where his life was taken from him so that he would mince no words against court. It was very bitter that he died like a chicken even when he chose that. But it only resulted because of the state of the nation. If provisions were made for graduates, for the unemployed youths, only if they were skill acquisition centers where the uneducated would learn varying skills, but he was fed up with life and its atrocities. A country where the truths were only hidden and conceded so that the liars go scot free while those who speak truths die like fowls.

The news of his death and actions later eluded the whole city of Aba and all the terrain of Lagos where they stayed. And all who had benefited from their game of robbing the rich to feed the poor prayed for his little soul, and that was how a vision minded youth was sent beneath the mother earth only to leave his family to mourn and to cry, a cry of nemesis and a cry of unfathomed mimicknes, a cry of the angry and hungry menace of our mirage economy. He died in anguish, but all who he had helped would never forget what he did than to remember the ugly deeds of the greedy politicians.

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